Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Review: Bait by K.C Blake

Barnes and Noble

Rating: 4


Ghosts, a reaper, and a rock star.

At sixteen Bay-Lee is not your typical girl. She doesn't even try to fit in at school. What's the point when she'll be moving to a new place within a few months?
She's lived her whole life on the run, hiding from monsters.

Then a reaper uses her closet to cross over from the Spirit Realm. It has a message for her. Just when she's about to join her father at his school for hunters she finds out they are dying on their birthdays. Something is killing them, slipping past locked doors, never leaving a trace of evidence, and her birthday is only two months away.

Becoming a hunter isn't exactly her dream come true. She's doing it for her mother, for revenge, for justice. Nothing is going to get in her way, least of all love. Then she looks up into a pair of jungle green eyes and everything changes.

My Review:

Sometimes, you just really want to read a clever, fun, action-packed, paranormal romance. If you are like me, you just really want a clever, fun, action-packed, paranormal romance that will cause you to stay up way past your self-assigned bedtime and have you thinking about it nonstop when you eventually drag yourself away from the brightly lit screen that has become a backdrop to your life and go into bed. (Is that a run-on sentence? I ramble...) Bait delivers.

From the beginning, the idea intrigued me. I am a huge fan of all things that go bump in the night, and Bait is full of all of them. You like vampires? Werewolves? Reapers? Ghosts? Monsters? Illusionist? Yeah, Bait has all of that. And the novel doesn't glamorize all of the monsters into being sexy, misunderstood secretly-sensitive heartthrobs, which is also refreshing. Having a protagonist that is the daughter of Van Helsing? If that isn't cool, then I no longer wish to be cool. I am also highly amused at the fact that the newbies are labeled as 'Bait' before they can move onto 'Hunter' and 'Warrior' or - even - (gasp!) 'Legend'. (It's the little things...) So, as far as the synopsis goes, Bait is absolutely brilliant.

I really liked the characters as well. I thought that the majority of them were developed excellently, and they are easy to connect to. Bay-Lee is a great voice to read, and I found myself rooting her on the entire time. (Which, you know, is what you are supposed to do with a protagonist, not that it always is the case.) Even the characters that ended up being not-so-good were written pretty-freaking-good (well, I know, but that doesn't fit the parallel, now does it?) Not that I can resist a well-crafted villain. (I can't.)

I am a little bit torn on Nick's character. On one hand, the hopeless romantic in me can't talk too much about it, given that she is too busy swooning on the floor. What self-respecting teenage girl doesn't fall for these bad-boy characters? Especially when they are funny and slightly Narcissistic like me? And can kick butt? And sing? Is it getting hotter in here, or...? I liked Nick's voice and character, I really did. There were just certain things that fall into the other hand. The romance is a bit cliche sometimes. The whole I-Was-A-Total-Ladies-Man-But-I-Never-Knew-Love-Until-I-Met-You is used a lot. Don't get me wrong, it can be okay, but it is a little less believable. I guess you can pull off the instalove with the whole "fate" argument, but the concept of "instalove" itself does not bother me too much. This is fiction, after all. Quickly falling in love is allowed. I think what got me is the whole tattoo thing. You'll know what I mean if you read the novel. Just...slightly unnecessary.

Even through the eh-parts, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Bait. The Mock Battles were insanely cool, and probably my favorite scenes.

Fans of the paranormal, this is a band wagon that you would want to jump on. Bait has excellent pacing, excellent characters, and will keep you interested the entire time. I am excited to be able to read more.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Sevy Series by Sarah-Jane Lehoux Blog Tour Stop - excerpt and giveaway!

I am extremely excited to be hosting Sarah-Jane Lehoux's Sexy Series on my blog. I have recently finished Masquerade, and I loved all three of the books, as I eagerly await more.

Thief is the first novel in the series, and the synopsis is as follows:

Happily Ever After Doesn't Come Without a Price

In the crumbling city of Eloria, there are two indisputable facts. First, everyone has a dream. Secret, seemingly unattainable, altogether irresistible, it is the kind of dream that aches and, at times, burns. For most, it will forever remain a teasing enigma, but there are those for whom dreams grow into obsession. Which brings us to the second indisputable fact: everyone has a price. Protestations of morality have little meaning when confronted with the all-consuming passion of the soul. Better judgment is pushed aside for the chance to obtain the unobtainable. The only question remaining is just how much a person is willing to sacrifice in order to get what they want.

Sevy has always been a quick study in the wicked ways of Eloria. Since childhood, she has eked out a living for herself with the help of her sticky fingers and her indomitable spirit. She has no qualms about taking what she desires, and when the unrequited love of her life is mysteriously murdered, Sevy will stop at nothing to get him back. Elvish black magic, necromancy and demonic pacts are of little consequence if it means she can once again have her beloved at her side. But is she willing to murder her only friend to get the job done? Is there a line that even this selfish, self-proclaimed bitch is not prepared to cross?

If that doesn't sound incredibly awesome, then nothing does.

On this blog tour stop, I also have an excerpt from Thief, as well as a giveaway, so you can get started reading on this incredible series! First, the excerpt - which is actually one of my favorite scenes from the first novel.

From Thief by Sarah-Jane Lehoux:

She might as well have been invisible. The people of Eloria paid no mind to the redness of her nose or to the wet marks that streaked across her dirty face. She was just another nameless vagrant after all, of which the city had more than its fair share.
It was midday. People flooded the constricted, cobbled streets, busily going about their lives. The perpetual grind and toil demanded that sales be pitched, prices be haggled, and money be made. Each day like the one before—an uphill battle to earn as much as the gods would allow so that, hopefully, their own children would not have the same desperation in their eyes that the skinny girl had in hers.
Had it been any other day, Sevy would have laughed at the curses that flew after her whenever she bumped into one of the merchants. Any other day, and she would have been more reckless, more bold, snatching coins right from outstretched hands and then making a game of the ensuing chase. Today, sadly, was not such a day.
The morning had begun well enough. Hopping nimbly over heaps of trash, she had rummaged for breakfast before returning home—a derelict building that once served as stables, decades ago, back when the Axlun royal family still lived in Eloria and the city was in its finest hour. Now abandoned by most of the kingdom’s aristocracy, Eloria had descended into a long, drawn out rot. Bad for the economy perhaps, but just right for those like Sevy. The city was littered with ramshackle houses and factories, memories of past prosperity cast off like the shells of sea creatures, readily appropriated and transformed into covert bastions of beggars and brigands.
The stables sheltered any number of street children, orphaned by choice or by circumstance, living together in fluid, drifting groups. It was their sanctuary against the dangers of the city, and though it couldn’t hold heat in the winter or lose it in the summer, it was dear to them.
She climbed up to the hayloft and tucked into her meal of a half-eaten apple and a crust of week-old bread, quite content. The day was further improved when Trena arrived and dangled a bottle of ruby red wine before Sevy’s eager eyes.
“Aw, brilliant! Where’d you get it from?”
Trena popped the cork out with her teeth then took three swigs, each bigger than the last, before answering. “A friend.”
“Nice friend.”
If Sevy’s attention had not been focused on the savory liquid, she may have noticed the nervous squirming or the edge in Trena’s voice. Instead, she simply sighed appreciatively and held up the wine in a mock salute to their health.
All too soon the bottle was emptied, leaving only a pleasant heat in their cheeks and a sickly sweet taste in their mouths. Warmed and sleepy from the drink, Sevy reclined against the wall and picked at random splinters of moulding hay while Trena turned the bottle over and over again in her hands. With the distraction of the wine gone, Sevy finally discerned that something wasn’t quite right with her normally bubbly friend. Several times, Trena opened her mouth to speak, but then shook her head and remained silent.
Sitting there, in the musty ruin of an era long past, they were quite the pair of opposites. Trena was a full head shorter than Sevy, but what she lacked in height, she made up for in curves. Sevy often stared enviously at those curves, comparing them to her own spindly frame. Heredity and malnutrition combined to work against Sevy, making her appear much younger than her sixteen years. Her brown hair, loosely tied back with a strip of cloth, didn’t have the luster of Trena’s blonde curls. The closest that Sevy’s pallid cheeks ever came to a fetching shade of red was when she was embarrassed, but Trena’s seemed to be everlastingly rouged. Trena’s clothes were always neater too. Sevy was forever discovering new rents and tears in hers. And her shoes…
Now that was odd, Sevy thought to herself. She hadn’t, until that moment, noticed that Trena was wearing new shoes—slippers made from softened leather. And a matched set as well. First a bottle of wine and now new shoes. An eyebrow rose as she regarded her friend with suspicion.
“What’s up?” she asked lightly, drawing her legs up to her chest.
“Nothing,” came the sighed response. “It’s just…about my friend. He’s really nice.”
Sevy nodded her agreement even though her stomach was beginning to churn. And it wasn’t from the wine.
“Well, um, he said he can get us all sorts of things. More wine, food, clothes. Whatever we want.”
In one hurried rush, Trena spoke animatedly about a man named Gihaf, one who promised them all of Eloria in exchange for certain favours.
“It’s nothing we haven’t done before,” Trena said with a shrug of her shoulders, trying but failing to appear casual. “Just now, he’ll give us stuff for it.”
“You can’t be serious.”
“It’s not so bad, honest. He promises we’ll be safe and that the men he’d fix us up with wouldn’t be horrid or anything.”
In her heart, Sevy had always known Trena might succumb to something like this. She was weak willed, more liable to take the easy way out, and definitely more likely to be charmed by anyone with a silver tongue.
The gods had been smiling upon Trena the day they arranged for her to meet Sevy four years earlier. Born from tougher stock, forged by the biting winds and glacial waters of the Melacian Sea, it had been Sevy who discovered such a relatively safe and comfortable place to live. It had been Sevy who learned through trial and error how to pick pockets and steal food. Trena may have been gullible, but she wasn’t stupid. She had latched onto Sevy, recognizing her strength and nerve.
As for Sevy, she was just happy to have a friend. Like the majority of Eloria’s children, she had already experienced far too much loss for such a short life. Trena was her surrogate family, and Sevy was not about to let anyone, particularly some perverted cock-bawd, take her away.
Indignation blazed within her stout little soul as Trena continued her impassioned speech, punctuated with sobs and frequent hitchings of her chest. She extolled Gihaf’s virtues—by the way she spoke, he may as well have been King Grewid himself—while rationalizing her choice with protests against the cold and the hunger.
“I’m sick of this. I mean, look at us, Sevy. Look how we’re living. It shouldn’t be this way! And Gihaf says—”
“Gihaf is lying!” Sevy at last exploded. “You’re so stupid! You wanna be his whore? Fine. Go! Get out and go spread your legs for him and the whole world!”
Trena was shocked into silence for a moment. Then she wailed Sevy’s name and threw herself at her feet. “Please, don’t be angry! Please!”
She just laid there, a blubbering heap on the floor, crying so pitifully that Sevy’s eyes misted over in spite of her anger. Maybe it was all Sevy’s fault. She did have an overbearing personality, to put it mildly. Bossy was a description Sevy wasn’t likely to ascribe to herself, but it was a great deal closer to the truth. Trena had always simply followed in Sevy’s wake, never testing the waters for herself, never learning what manner of sharks swam in Eloria’s depths.
It’s my fault, Sevy thought. She shouldn’t have protected Trena so fiercely in the past. By doing so, she had set Trena up for a life of dependence on others. I’m so stupid. But there would be plenty of time later on for Sevy to beat herself up over the decisions she had made. Right now, she had to stop her friend from making a huge mistake.
Her tone softened as she helped Trena up. “You don’t have to do this. I’ll just start stealing more. I’ll take care of you, you’ll see. Look, I’ll go right now and get some money to pay Gihaf for the wine. You won’t owe him anything, all right? You’ll see.”
Without waiting for a reply, she ran outside and down the alley. She didn’t want to hear more excuses, more justifications. Words like that, harmless as they outwardly appeared, had a way of burning what they fell upon, like cinders on the wind. Sevy would prove to Trena that they could get by without resorting to prostitution. She’d prove it to her, and then she’d make Trena grovel for ever doubting Sevy’s ability.
Finally reaching the marketplace, Sevy pushed a strand of greasy hair from her face as she came to a stop. Green eyes with blackened half-moons bruised underneath sized up the crowd that was milling about the market. She took breath after slow breath to calm herself and gain focus. She couldn’t afford any mistakes, not today.
She needed to gather as much as she could, as fast as she could. She needed an easy mark. Not the dwarf over there sloppily drinking from a rain bucket. She would bet that his purse was in danger of bursting, but dwarves guarded their money like wolves guarded their dens. No point in risking injury. The two men discussing rhetoric over rum cakes and coffee were suitably distracted, but they were most likely students, and the pockets of students rarely contained anything more than lint and dreams of grandeur. What about the elf dancing on the corner? She could skim from his earnings while he had his limbs tangled up in a bizarre impression of a bird, but as she walked past him, she saw that his hat held only two half pieces of copper. He’d either have to learn some new steps or start stripping before the crowd tossed him anything worth stealing.
No, no, no! This wasn’t going well at all! What in Koad’s name was wrong with these people? Why did they have to make things so difficult? What had started as a simple task was turning into something infuriatingly problematic.
But then she saw him. A tall, dark-haired young man dressed in a smart blue jacket. His attention was fixed on a busty merchant, though his eyes drifted more to her chest than to the wares laid out on her table. The pair flirted and laughed freely. Whatever they were bantering back and forth was certainly more engrossing than the scrawny girl sneaking up behind them.
Sevy could see a money bag hanging on his belt, and it was plenty full too. Perfect! She smoothed back her hair and wiped away the fine layer of sweat that had broken out across her brow. Breathe! she commanded herself. Quit acting like such a beginner! This guy is a complete patsy. Not worth the worry, so just relax!
She brushed against him, pretending to peruse the trinkets for sale. Oh my, what a pretty set of wooden earrings, and goodness me! Those bone bangles are absolutely to die for. She felt his eyes pass over her as he politely attempted to shift out of her way, but they quickly returned to the buxom beauty behind the table.
That’s it, buddy. You just take your time with her tits, and I’ll be gone before you can wipe the drool off your lips.  
Trembling fingers slipped around the bag, carefully working it off his belt. Almost had it. Just one more tug. Success! Sevy could scarcely suppress her snicker of victory while she moved to sidle back into the ranks of the invisible underclass.
Before she could, a hand gripped her shoulder, halting her escape.
“I’ll take that back, sweetheart.”
“Take what back?”
He laughed as he turned her to face him. She glared at him in defiance, looking straight into his face for the first time.
Beautiful. The word almost escaped her lips in an awed whisper as she found herself mesmerized by the twinkle of his oceanic blue eyes, but, luckily, her tongue was so tied by the sight of his bewitching smile that she couldn’t speak. The way the sun lapped at each strand of his flowing black hair was so engrossing that she forgot to struggle against his hold until his voice, mellifluous and tinged with mirth, broke her out of the spell.
“Nice try, really it was. But your technique is terrible.”
“Wh—what?” she stammered, remembering her predicament. “You’re crazy! Let me go or I’ll call the guards.”
“Oh really? All right, call them then. We’ll wait here together and let them sort it out.” Without waiting for her reply, he pulled her closer and reached into her pocket.
“Let me go, you lecher!”
Smirking, he scooped out the bag of coins and made a show of tucking it inside of his jacket. Sevy felt her face grow red, but was it from the chagrin of being caught or from the intensity of those eyes shining down at her?
She had to look away, and it was only then that she noticed the people gathering around them like ravenous dogs primed for the scent of blood, no doubt hoping for a spot of entertainment to help break up the day. There’s nothing quite like a public thrashing to lift the stupor of drudgery.
“What’s going on, Jarro? Gonna teach her a lesson?” someone shouted.
“Give her to me. I’ll teach her real good,” another man jeered, thrusting his pelvis.
She had been caught in the act. By city law, it was his right to dole out her punishment, but in his face she saw none of the hatred and righteous indignation she had come to expect. There was only merriment, as though the two of them were sharing in a joke that the others were not privy to.
“Shut up!” he yelled to the yammering horde before flashing her another brilliant smile. “Listen, sweetheart, how’s about I let you go this time? Just promise me you’ll work on that technique.”

 Now, I am sure that you are now fully convinced that you need to read this series, so I will conveniently leave the purchase links below:

Thief (Book One) 
Shades of War (Book Two) 
Masquerade (Book Three) 

Also, I am giving away an e-copy of Thief, so be sure to enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to continue with the Blog Tour and read the Sevy Series! Believe me, you will be extremely glad that you did.

Thief Goodreads
Shades of War Goodreads
Masquerade Goodreads

Friday, May 24, 2013

Review: Paradise Squandered by Alex Stefansson


Insightful, provocative and bold, Paradise Squandered is Alex Stefansson's take-no-prisoners debut novel about a cynical teenager's naive artistic aspirations, and his pining love for a girl he is too afraid to actually talk to. It is a raw, powerful portrait of a disaffected generation in an empty, consumer-culture world. It is the story of Andrew Banks, a recent graduate of Puget Sound Prep and quite possibly the most directionless member of his graduating class.

This is a story of what it is like to aimlessly trudge along that strange and uncharted course that is life after high school.

Andrew returns home from a long-promised graduation trip to Hawaii and re-enters a bland, suburban landscape of privilege and indifference feeling alone and empty. The house he grew up in doesn't feel like home anymore. His mother seems more interested in desperately clinging to youth than being a mother. His sister only cares about playing the role of dutiful daughter. His brother disappeared years ago. His dad died when he was ten.

Talented but uninspired, Andrew knows he wants to pursue his art, but he has no idea how. He resigns himself to going through the motions of his own life, until he overhears the disturbing truth of his father's death. He instantly decides he has to leave his childhood home forever, and a darkly hilarious odyssey ensues.

Andrew moves to a new city with his best friend, David, who is going to college in the fall and has big plans for his future. Andrew's plans are less academic. He meets Steven, a highly ambitious artist with questionable motives, and a mysterious and alluring young woman who keeps him coming back to the same coffee shop, day after day. Andrew eventually discovers that some things are actually worth pursuing.

My Review:

Paradise Squandered is an excellent coming of age novel that can appeal to those of all ages and tastes.

Beautifully written and thoroughly real, the work will leave readers thinking long after they read that final page.

Andrew is an excellent narrator. The kind of character that you feel you shouldn't like, but end up liking regardless. He has that connectable, witty sarcasm in his voice, displaying an honesty that hasn't been seen this successful since the narration of Holden Caulfield. The characterization that Stefansson crafts is remarkable.

Paradise Squandered holds many great themes and lessons. I found the writing to be breathtaking, and the quoting opportunities are just about endless. Anyone who has dreams but trouble figuring out what they are going to do next can easily connect to the story. The authentic voices and feelings of the darker sides of teenagers is captured within these pages.

This novel will have you entertained and emotional throughout the entire ride, all the way to the ending - which I thought was the perfect closing spot.

A shorter read, Paradise Squandered holds more content and relevance than the majority of other novels in its genre, and is a breathtaking find.

Bold, brilliant, clever and refreshingly honest, Paradise Squandered is not a novel to miss. Stefansson is able to write to change the reader's mood and thought, and really get them to feel - and I think that is something really amazing. Would highly recommend.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review: Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike

Note: I received an ARC copy of Earthbound. The release date is July 30th, 2013!
Love, fate, and power collide in this new series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Aprilynne Pike!

Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents. When she starts to see strange visions of a boy she’s never spoken with in real life, she begins to suspect that there’s much about her past that she isn’t being told. Tavia will soon discover that she’s an Earthbound—someone with the ability to create matter out of nothing—and that she alone holds the key to stopping the Reduciata, an evil society that manipulates global events for its own shadowy purposes. Tavia will ultimately have to make a choice: to come into her powers and save the world from the evil Reduciata or to choose free will and a love of her own.

My Review:

Wow. Earthbound is breathtaking. The kind of novel that makes you feel like your entire world has shattered into glass, and you have been reborn.

Tavia is a normal girl, pursing the thing that she loves, until she is the only survivor in a horrific plane crash, and her life falls apart.

Now living with her aunt and uncle, Tavia is feeling anything but normal. She is seeing things that no one else can - including a mysterious boy that she is extremely drawn to - and finds that she can create objects out of thin air.

Soon, Tavia is drawn deeper into the story of her past, what really caused the crash, and who she really is - and the answer is anything but normal.

Beautifully written, with excellent pacing, Earthbound will have you reading nonstop until you turn that final page.

The idea is refreshingly original, and incredibly written. I don't know what I was first expecting when I received the novel, but it definitely did not live up to the real thing.

Unlike most novels with the love V, I found myself liking both of the guys involved. The characters are all well-developed, relatable, and qualify for some serious reader-to-fictional-character instalove.

A wild ride through the brilliant ending (with a twist that I did not see coming, although I will not say more) Earthbound will have you spellbound and begging for more.

I would start counting down the days to July 30th, because this is one you don't want to miss.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

First of all, I need to point out that I absolutely love the covers of this series. I mean, it is awesome. Also, did you know that Day's chapters are blue? The text is blue? How friggin' cool is that?!


June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.

My Review:

Legend was so utterly amazing, that by default, I believed that Prodigy would have to be a step down, because - aren't the sequels always?

But it so wasn't. I cannot tell you if Prodigy exceeded the awesomeness that was Legend, because I just finished it and everything else seems irrelevant. (I existed before this...?)

I can't help but fall completely in love with the characters even more than in the first novel. The writing is brilliant, the plot is exciting and filled with action, and Day is still swoon-worthy.

And that ending! Absolutely breaktaking. Absolutely perfect. Absolutely heartbreaking. I may need a moment to compose myself, I am getting emotional.

There are so many words I want to say about this book, but I just cannot find the right combination, and am probably just wasting Everyone's time by typing this out. I feel like I just need to sit for a while. I need a recovery period.

Basically, if you have not yet read Legend. Do it. Read it. Fall in love. Misery loves company, and I want you to join my in the sure to be agonizing wait for Champion. (Not sure if I will make it...)

As I write this, know that because I COULD NOT put this book down, I will be very tired tomorrow and likely fail my chemistry test.

But it was worth it.

Review: Valley of Darkness Part 1 By A.B. Whelan


Release date: May 30, 2013 ( e-book price: 99 cents)

It has been two months since Victor admitted his feelings to Molly and they became the coolest couple at Beverly Hills High and since Adam’s memory had been erased and the secret of the Arkanians became safe once again.

But Molly is robbed of her short-lived happiness when tragedy strikes her family and she is forced to face life’s dark side. Now she feels that there is nothing left for her on Earth but an insensitive aunt and her little brother, while Arkana promises a place where she might find happiness and purpose again.

There had been talks between Molly and Victor about secretly moving the entire Bennett family to the safe and peaceful Arkana, but Molly doesn’t want to live in the shadows anymore. She wants to be a Sentinel and join the fight against the Terrakas. But getting into the Academy requires more than a pretty face.
My Review:
Normally, when you are awaiting a sequel, you kind of assume that it is not going to be as good as the first one. I really liked Fields of Elysium, so I was a bit worried to start Valley of Darkness.
I really did not have to be. This novel exceeded my expectations, and proved that the series just continues to get better.
You really see a new side of Molly's character, and this development allows her to grow. I think that the conflict within Valley of Darkness intensified from the first novel, which made me devour the story even more! This installment is more dark than the first novel, but Whelan works that to an advantage because I could not get enough. Between the problems Molly faces, the action of the Sentinels and the romance with Victor, there is not a single part of the story that doesn't fully keep your attention.
Speaking of Victor, you cannot help but fall in love with a character like him. Definitely pleased by the role that he played in this novel. Like Molly, he is continuing to grow as a character and I am very excited to see more of him. (Although, I am hoping to see more of the other characters from Arkana later in the series.)
Valley of Darkness is interesting, beautifully written, and altogether a wonderful addition to the series. If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading Fields of Elysium and continuing with Valley of Darkness. My only complaint is that, with the exciting twist of an ending, I have to wait for the second part! (I mean, I get it...but still...)
 ((Still not convinced, check out the amazing book trailer!))

Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: Swoon by Nina Malkin


Sin is coming... Prepare to Swoon.

Torn from her native New York City and dumped in the land of cookie-cutter preps, Candice is resigned to accept her posh, dull fate. Nothing ever happens in Swoon, Connecticut...until Dice's perfect, privileged cousin Penelope nearly dies in a fall from an old tree, and her spirit intertwines with that of a ghost. His name? Sinclair Youngblood Powers. His mission? Revenge. And while Pen is oblivious to the possession, Dice is all too aware of Sin. She's intensely drawn to him—but not at all crazy about the havoc he's wreaking. Determined to exorcise the demon, Dice accidentally sets Sin loose, gives him flesh, makes him formidable. Now she must destroy an even more potent—and irresistible—adversary, before the whole town succumbs to Sin's will. Only trouble is, she's in love with him.

What do you do when the boy of your dreams is too bad to be true?

My Review:

The idea of this novel is something that is really cool, and I feel it has the potential to be really enjoyable. I mean, the whole golum idea is pretty awesome. Make that golum a sexy, chivalrous, bad ass ex-ghost named Sinclair? Oh, yes. I am game! And some things about the novel are good.

The characters, for one.

Sinclair is an interesting character. The fact that he is a bit turned-evil is probably what makes him more interesting than many of the other characters. Plus, the fact that he is from the eighteenth century? Awesome.

The fact that I could not stop reading has to count for, well, something.

If you are a horny teenage girl looking for something soft-core, then this novel might be a decent place to start. It definitely tries to get hot. A lot.

However, I was disappointed when reading.

First of all, the writing was a bit hard to follow sometimes. It might just be Dice's voice, I am not really sure. Still, it did not really impair me from finishing so I *guess* I can let that slide.

Dice is a character that - whenever I feel like I'm starting to like her - does something that makes me change my mind. Yeah, okay, maybe the rest of us hopelessly romantic teenage girls would instantly develop feelings for a sexy bad boy from the past. Even if he is possessing her cousin. I'll give her that. But it did seem like she was admitting her "love" for him really quickly. Don't get me wrong, instalove can work in a story, but in this case - it was a bit much. I did like her humor and singing. I guess the fact that she admits to being with a lot of guys breaks the whole "sixteen-or-seventeen-and-never-been-kissed-but-suddenly-have-a-bunch-of-damn-perfect-guys-into-me" YA stereotype, but the whole "yep-I-drink-smoked-shit-and-party-hard-also-my-parents-only-sort-of-exist" was a little much. (Maybe being a teen myself, this just seems more unrealistic?)

The actual writing of the novel was OK. It had it's moments, but it was really nothing special.

All in all, the stars I gave it were pretty much for the main idea itself and Sinclair. That's about it.

Maybe if more time would have been spent on the golum idea, instead of possible orgys, I would have enjoyed it a bit more. I'm no prude, but your drugs-sex-and-porn should not get in the way of your plotline and characters.

How to Woo the Teenage World With Your Novel: Exploring YA Cliche 1

YA fiction is all the rave these days, and it may come as a surprise, but you can be the offer of one of these golden pieces of literature. All you need is time, a dream, something to write with, and a touch of insanity. I am here to help you through this long but rewarding journey of crafting a successful YA fiction story.
Step One: The Main Idea
You are going to need something to keep your plot on track, so what do you want your story to be about? Don't know? That's okay! You see, there are always "trends" in YA, so you can know exactly what to write about. Basically, you just take the same basic plotline everyone else is, make it your own, and hope you developed your characters well enough that it distracts from the fact that your writing is sub-par and your idea is unoriginal.
Lucky for you, one doesn't need to be a good writer to get a book published. Just ask Stephanie Meyer and all the bank she made from that movie deal.
A good place to start today is with "dystopia". (The whole vampire stage seems to be coming to an end, so I would avoid that one. Keep watch for the change in trend through.)
Not sure what Dystopia is? Read Orwell's 1984. Or just go to the YA section of your bookstore and pick a shiny new hardcover from the shelves. There is about a 75% you will find something Dystopian.
Change a few minor details, make up some funny words, and BAM! You have a lovely original idea to sell.
Step Two: The Characters
Begin with figuring out your protagonist. They can be anyone, but you might as well just make it female. Ladies, your male voice will probably be "sensitive" and "kind" enough to have estrogen, so just skip all that together. (Still, do whatever you want. But don't say I didn't warn you.) Men, you don't have to make it a female, and I will explain what to do if you want to keep your character male.
If your protagonist is female...
Make her sixteen years old. Everyone can connect with a sixteen year old. It sounds old enough where they can have some freedom, but still young enough that she is a teenager. Also, stress the fact that she has NEVER had a real relationship. Never-been-kissed, even better. She is not absolutely gorgeous, but she won't be frieghtening any horses either. Of course, within the novel she has to have at least one incredibily attractive love interest (we will get to that later) into her. It doesn't matter that she spent the first 16 years of her life single. Suddenly, she is wanted. 
If your protagonist is male...
Also around the age of sixteen. Never really had much luck with ladies, even though he is a total fox. A bit socially awkward maybe.

Regardless of the gender, the protagonist usually has something special about them. Either they developed powers, are unnaturally good at something, or found out that - whoops - they are not actually human! Rarely do we find an ordinary person placed in extraordinary situations.

Now, for the love interest. If your love interest is female, it doesn't really matter. You want to know where the money is? Explosions and fangirls. Now, the explosions you can do anywhere. Fangirls? They need a guy to fan over, and you are going to give them one, dammit.

First of all, he has to be attractive. Not only is he attractive, but you describe him as being "demigodly" or "so hot that Sirus is jealous." He is so good looking, that his great figure and orgasmic voice should be illegal. 

But does this physical masterpiece let it all get to his head? You bet it does. But only on the outside. His slightly Narcissistic, hilarious badass behavior is incredibly charming, but he reveals to be a secret romantic. Give him a sexy and/or monosyllabic name like Damien or Jack.

Basically, your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to make these fangirls as shallow as possible because they will never find a boy in reality who can ever compare to the fictional tall drink of water that you let them down.

Step Three: The Romance
There are two ways you can do this.
The first, "You're the One That I Want"
Remember our fine-ass male character? Even though just about any straight girl or gay boy would sell their soul for a night with him, he is going to be hot for your protagonist. Is there a reason she has never been kissed? Maybe, maybe not. But that doesn't matter, because her world is going to be blown apart. You better have some steamy scenes, because you will want to make bank on those.

The second, "This Is Not a Goddamn Triangle"

It is a V. You see, your protagonist has not one, but two (or possibly more) potential bachelors for her. And, hot damn, they are both so perfect, she can't decide. Of course, she must not be thinking what a normal teenage girl would think, "Aw, hell yes!" but rather must complain and bitch that she cannot decide between the two perfect guys after her. (Note: one guy should be the friendly, funny, practical choice, while the other is the mysteriously sexy bad boy.)

Step Four: You Have A Heart? You Don't Have A Heart.
Is there that character that all the fangirls fall in love with? The love interest that everyone wants your character to be with? Someone who deserves everything? The sweet girl? The funny, sexy guy?
Kill him.
I don't care if tears are pouring down your face when you do it. You kill that character before you have the chance to change your mind. You don't even do it in a nice way. You kill them over something stupid, or once their dreams are about to come true, or don't even spend more than a page on the death. If you cannot collect and drink the tears of your readers, you were not heartless enough.

Step Five: If All Else Fails...Add Zombies.
Everyone likes a good zombie story. Come on, make it a disease breakout, or put some magic shit in. Doesn't really matter. I'm telling you zombies.
I want to be a good example for you. So, I am going to end this part, promise a sequel, and if you are lucky, it will come out before you drop dead. Hey, it's not like I am going to charge you for it (like real novels) or pull another cliche by leaving you han

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Review: Gone by Michel Grant


In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.

Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents--unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers--that grow stronger by the day.

It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else...

My Review:

Don't judge this book by its cover. I know we all do it, but this one time, don't. I normally do not like when people are on book covers, since you feel obligated to think of them as a character. So, maybe I don't really like the cover.

But this book should come with a warning. Warning: Extremely Awesome. Read at own risk.

I loved every minute of reading Gone. It is packed with action, suspense, and will keep you thrilled and reading through the very end.

Gone has a lot of parallels to Golding's Lord of the Flies, which is another novel that I enjoyed. Being able to make this connection is really interesting, and added to the reading experience. (So I would recommend reading both.)

Gone adds supernatural aspects to the whole only-kids-are-left story, which creates a more interesting point. The "powers" that the kids developed are really cool, and adds to the plot.

The characters are well-developed, and the psychological points created between the characters - especially with Caine (a little like Jack, maybe?). Sam (Ralph?) also displays some mental creativity, although is not quite as deliciously crazy as Caine.

Gone is exciting, interesting, and will leave you wanting more, as I definitely do. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone, and I am exciting to read the rest of the series!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Review: The Brown House by Christy Sloat


Some secrets should never be revealed…
Brylee Branson begrudgingly made the excruciating move with her family from the warm sandy beaches of California to small town living in New Jersey. As if she wasn’t miserable enough, they’ve moved into a creepy old house that everyone in the area claims is haunted. Brylee dismisses the idea of ghosts and hauntings, until she begins to see and hear things that can’t be explained…

Brylee has no choice but to seek the help of new friends to unlock the secrets of this place she now calls home. But some secrets should never be revealed. Can the teens find a way to release the spirits imprisoned within the walls? Or will the curse claim them, too?

My Review:

I have always been a fan of the paranormal and supernatural.  You give me a good ghost story and I am game. In fact, I am more than game. I will devour it faster than mint Oreo cookies. The Brown House is definitely a good ghost story.

Who doesn't like a good tale of a haunted house? Rich in history on how it came to be that way? Because Sloat definitely delivers. The story behind the haunting is just as interesting as the haunting itself. The ghosts are excellent. I found it really refreshing that the novel actually worked on plot. It has a good one. Many horror stories focus so much on trying to scare the shit out of you, that they forget what good writing actually is. The Brown House may not be absolutely terrifying, but it definitely has some great writing!

The novel keeps your attention and has a great pace. Not to mention, it does an excellent job of keeping you ready to read more, especially upon reaching the ending.

Brylee is a good character, and a lot of the choices she makes aren't sterotypical-horror-heroine-with-no-common-sense, so that is definitely a bonus. Maybe it is just be, but I thought that her good looks were brought up a bit too much? Like more-times-than-Castiel-in-Supernatural much. I mean, this could add to having realistic characters, since us teenage girls can be oh-so-vain. But it was a *tad* much. Still, nothing that prevents the overall enjoyment of the novel.

The Brown House is well-written, suspenseful, and interesting, and will create a great ghost story for those, who like me, have been craving one. I can't wait to see what comes next.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Review: Fields of Elysium by A.B Whelan

How can love mend a heart full of hate?

Small town girl, Molly Bennett, moves to Los Angeles where she becomes an outsider while attending Beverly Hills High School. It seems life cannot be any more dreadful. Then one day after school, something magical happens. On a secluded hike in the Hollywood Hills, Molly chases her disobedient mutt and only friend into a hidden cavern. She stumbles upon a strange glimmering gateway that transports her to Arkana, a planet that is the cradle of an advanced human race. There, teenagers navigate amazing flying vehicles, compete in perilous games for glory, and possess supernatural powers. While Molly tries to wrap her mind around this unbelievable discovery, she meets the alluring and mysterious Victor Sorren. He is a Sentinel Apprentice, whose hatred toward people from Earth is beyond understanding. Yet every time Victor unpredictably saves Molly's life, his heart draws closer to hers, no matter how much he tries to fight against it. It further complicates things that their growing friendship is strictly forbidden. Earth people are prohibited in Arkana, yet Molly continues to cross through the portal to Arkana to see Victor. Torn between their double lives, they go down a dangerous path, from where there is no return and multiple endings.

Would you fight to be with the one you truly love? What cost would you be willing to sacrifice for that love?

Fields of Elysium is a suspenseful romantic tale full of forbidden secrets, unimaginable danger, deception, and the never-ending fight for true love.

My Review:

Fields of Elysium is a truly exceptional novel, with a love story that goes straight to your heart.

Arkana is an amazing setting, and a perfect fantasy world. The scenes that took place there were some of my favorites, and the author really transports the reader into a great adventure within this setting. The flying machines that also tie into nature create surreal imagery, and the description in this world is breathtaking.

Many of the characters in this novel are very strong. Molly actually has some depth to her, and is a character that you can really connect with - something I find is very important in novels. Victor is strong, mysterious, and all of those traits that you want the love interest to be when reading novels with romance.

The romance within this novel was excellent! There are always those lines between romantic characters that really affect you and make you swoon. The lines that remind you how perfect fictional males really are. Victor has plenty of these lines. His dialogue in general is amazing.

A beautifully written, fantastical account of discovering a new world and fighting for love, Fields of Elysium will be sure to please.

There are very few negative things I can say about the novel, but I do have some small complaints. I would really have liked to see more of Arkana, and hopefully that will happen in the future. I understand why a lot of the setting had to be on earth, but I thought that some of the Arkana scenes were the best written and most exciting. Whelan transports you to this world along with the characters, and you cannot help but fall in love.

Also, I did think that some of the problems were solved a bit quickly. Toward the end of the book, some of the "climatic" moments I just could not get into as much. I would have rather seen more of Victor and Arkana than what happened at the dance.

Still, I was very pleased with the novel and had trouble putting it down! It is a great read, especially for readers of romance and fantasy.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Lethal Addiction

I wanted to discuss with you all a very serious matter. This is an addiction that is spreading all across the world, especially in teens, but noted to be spread throughout all age groups. I cannot stress how important this issue is, but it is soon to reach a Pandemic state of alarm.

This dependent disorder does not yet have a name, quite possibly because it is too terrifying to be stopped. There may come a point where we, as goodhearted citizens and human beings, may have to just embrace it, and hope for the best.

I will refer to these poor infected individuals as "YA Bookaholics", a term that they will throw around as if their dysfunction is something to be proud of.

I would like to tell you more about this serious addiction and what can be done about it.

What causes one to be a "YA Bookaholic"?
Studies have shown that the only way to completely contract this disorder is use of a inexpensive and currently legal drug known as "Young Adult Fiction" or "YA". However, the ideas can be spread between people, creating a pressure to purchase and "read" this drug.

What are the symptoms of being a "YA Bookaholic"?
This is a tough question to answer, as everyone reacts differently. However, there are many common and repeated symptoms that include, but are not limited to:
  • Constant purchases of the "YA" drug.
  • General need to go to a place that sells books. Quite possible they receive them black-market or in the highly dangerous "read-to-review" pro-addict program.
  • Hiding the use of the drug. (Ex: keeping books in bags away from view. Using e-books so it appears they are on a computer or a phone when they really are participating in this activity.)
  • Inability to control emotions. (Lots of hysterical crying and anger, usually over a fictional character.)
  • Violent or rebellious tenancies.
  • Possible homicidal behavior. (Usually in writing, but we have only researched the beginning stages.)
  • False sense of reality.
  • Loss of interest in other activities.
  • Lack of "social life" or "living friends"
  • Hermit behavior
  • Uses words like "fanfiction" and "shipping"
  • Disinterest in "real-life"
  • Large consumption of caffeinated beverages.  
What are the Long-Term Effects of This Addiction?
There are many negative effects that this addiction can cause. Some may include:
  • Money loss. All money, even if saved for other things, goes to be spent on this drug
  • Increased levels of procrastination
  • Insanity
  • Increased time spent in house, esp. bedroom.
  • More insanity.
  • Increased level of knowledge
  • Ability to live multiple lives and live them without limits. (Does this sound multiple personalities to you too? See insanity.) 
What should I do if myself or a loved one has become a "YA Bookaholic"?
Unfortunately, there is not any known cures, and it is almost unheard of for an infected individual to find a out themselves. No support groups or rehabilitation centers are currently available. However, we have included some testimonials, so you can know that you are not alone.

"I fear that my teenage daughter is becoming a YA Bookaholic...I'm...I'm sorry, but this is difficult to talk about. She is spending all of her money on these novels, and spending an obscene amount of time in her room. I try to get her interested in normal things, like clothes and boys, but she responds by saying "I would buy a new dress, but the final book to this trilogy I follow is coming out next week!" and "All the perfect guys are fictional anyway." I am afraid for her mental health, and I don't know what to do. Yesterday, I saw her crying her eyes out, a book in her hand, and the other day she was yelling at the pages, as if the characters were real!"
We also have obtained a small quote from Justine W., a sixteen year old girl who is highly addicted, even having started a "book blog" in which she refers to herself as "the YA Lit Chick". This may be too disturbing for some readers to view, and discretion is advised.

"I am not seeing what the big deal is? Yeah, I like to read Young Adult Fiction. So, what? Reading is a great thing! It allows you to escape reality, go on impossible adventures, learn new things! Okay, maybe I spend a lot of money on it...but is that really something bad if I enjoy doing it? It is a great way to meet other people and spend time! Don't you guys ever use your imagination? I mean, come on! You are treating this like it is some kind of problem like alcoholism or...wait...where did you go? Why are you spraying me with Lysol?!"
As you can see, there are already members of today's Youth that are far beyond the point of sanity and recovery. The media's devotion to this "YA" drug with movie adaptations creates even more issue.

We advise you to stop the madness, or you can end up broke, lonely, emotionally unstable and violent like that poor soul above.

Godspeed, my friends.

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